Although San Mateo County is participating in a historic trial of a so-called "all mail" election this year, voters can still vote at the polls on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3).
If you have not mailed your postage-paid, mail-in ballot, which was sent to all registered voters in the county, you may choose to vote at one of the 32 "universal polling places" that will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
At any of these polling places, any San Mateo County registered voter can vote in person, request a replacement ballot, or drop off his or her mail-in ballot.
These are the four universal polling places in Almanac towns:
● Atherton: Menlo College, Fireside Room, Student Union Building, 1000 El Camino Real.
● Menlo Park: Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Juniper Room, 700 Alma St.
● Portola Valley: Historic School House, Town Chambers, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley.
● Woodside: Town of Woodside Independence Hall, 2955 Woodside Road.
Click here to see a complete list of the polling place locations.
If you choose to mail in your ballot, make sure it's postmarked no later than Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Another option is to drop off your mail-in ballot at one of 20 city hall locations throughout the county during regular business hours up until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Check your voter information pamphlet for the nearest drop-off location.
If you have questions, you can contact the county elections office by phone at (650) 312-5222 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Mateo County and Yolo County are the only counties in California authorized by state law to participate in this trial program. The state Legislature's intention is to test this election method to see if it should be adopted statewide.
The counties were selected for their different geographic and demographic makeup: Yolo County is larger and less populous that the more urban San Mateo County.
San Mateo County plans to conduct three all-mail elections between now and 2018. This method will be used in local and county-wide elections only, not in state or federal elections.
Most voters in San Mateo County already vote by mail. In the November 2014 general election, 67 percent of the county's voters used mail-in ballots.
Mark Church, San Mateo County's chief elections officer, has estimated that voter turnout may increase by about 10 percent as the result of this election method.
In addition, he said, an all-mail voting system could nearly halve the costs of elections. San Mateo County's past elections have relied on training 1,700 poll workers to operate 1,300 voting machines at 209 polling places. In this election, the county will have four to five poll workers at each of only 32 universal polling places on Election Day.
Under a new state law that goes into effect Jan. 1, every eligible California citizen who obtains or renews a driver's license in the state will automatically be registered to vote. The law will allow people to opt out of registering to vote.
● Go to www.shapethefuture.org for more information from the San Mateo County Elections Office.
● Go to SmartVoter.org for information from the League of Women Voters.